romance

Don’t Get Fooled by Romance Scams

Falling in love can make you feel as though you’re walking on air, but if a budding relationship is exclusively online, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a romance scam victim.

  • You may be charming and attractive, but scammers will try grooming you by flattering your ego. Be suspicious if things progress too quickly without meeting each other in person.
  • Watch out if your new friend starts making financial requests. He or she may play with your heartstrings and say there are medical expenses to pay or ask you for travel expenses for a date. Don’t do it.
  • Never send cash, cashier’s checks, gift cards or wired funds to unverified individuals. It’s almost impossible to get that money back.
  • Resist the temptation to send expensive gifts to your virtual boyfriend or girlfriend. Save that for when and if you meet in person. Even then, don’t spend more than you can afford.
  • Private information, such as your account number or PIN isn’t to be shared with anyone but joint account owners.
  • Don’t provide your address, credit card numbers or Social Security number to someone you’re talking to on a dating site or in a chat room.
  • Resist any effort to connect to your account to an online friend’s, even if they claim they’ll only make deposits.

In short, a healthy amount of skepticism can keep you safe whenever you start seeing—or chatting with—a new love interest.

LendKey Reaches $2.6 Billion Loan Milestone, Expands its Partner Network with America First Credit Union

New York, February 6, 2019 — LendKey, the leading lending-as-a-service platform, announced that it has originated a total of more than $2.6 billion in loans on behalf of its financial institution partners as of the end of 2018. LendKey’s turnkey solution provides banks and credit unions with a state-of-the-art platform to offer digital loans.

“Reaching the $2.6 billion milestone is a testament to LendKey’s position as a trusted partner for financial institutions to expand their digital lending offerings and grow revenue and their asset portfolios,” said Vince Passione, CEO and Founder of LendKey.

Highlights for 2018 included record loan origination volume for LendKey’s lending partners, a 26% increase in revenue, and the opening of a new state-of-the-art office in Cincinnati to support the planned expansion of new partner lenders in 2019 and beyond.

LendKey also announced that America First Credit Union, one of the nation’s largest credit unions serving over 1,000,000 members, has become the newest addition to its roster of lending partners, one of 18 new lenders who started using the LendKey platform last year.

“Our partnership with LendKey is a testament to our commitment to provide our members with a seamless digital borrowing experience and the loans they need,” said Rich Syme, Executive Vice President of America First Credit Union. “We value this new partnership and look forward to expanding our portfolio with a recognized industry leader in digital lending solutions.”

The strong demand for consumer lending has led banks and credit unions to deliver relevant product offerings through a robust online borrowing experience expected by today’s digital-first consumers.

About LendKey:

LendKey pioneered the lending-as-a-service model enabling white-labeled, digital lending solutions that help financial institutions establish a strong digital lending presence and acquire prime borrowers for a lifetime of lending. Customized solutions help manage liquidity, reduce costs, and mitigate risk. Visit lendkey.com/lend or email pr@lendkey.com for more information.

About America First Credit Union

With a long-standing history and more than 80 years servicing members, America First has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the 10th largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $10.3 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,000,000 members.

Choose TurboTax & Save

Get the best refund for less with TurboTax® and America First.

We’re offering exclusive member discounts on the web’s #1 filing software:

  • Easy to use
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  • Searches for every deduction & credit

Go here for details.

Security Update: It’s Time to File—Beware of Scams

As the tax season shifts into high gear, criminals also step up their schemes to rob you. They will impersonate IRS employees, set up fake sites to steal your data and deploy many other tactics.

But there are ways to protect yourself:

  • Dismiss calls, emails and texts from people who claim to represent the IRS—the agency only communicates via mail on official letterhead. Hang up, delete, delete.
  • Don’t pay anyone who says he or she is from the government, needs a pre-paid debit card, and threatens to levy fines if you don’t comply.
  • Never reply to emails, texts, pop-ups or ads asking for your personal or financial information.
  • Don’t do your taxes over public Wi-Fi hotspots vulnerable to hacking.
  • Visit us here to learn more about safeguarding your resources.

Protecting Your Resources No Matter the Economic Direction

By Glen Olpin, Senior Vice President & Chief Economist

As economic expansion in the United States continues, we are approaching one of the longest-running periods of growth on record, with the 120-month benchmark likely to be surpassed in 2019. We expect this positive trend to extend through the year.

Overall economic growth, as measured by gross domestic product, has seen ongoing improvement in Utah and neighboring western states. These have been among the top states in economic strength and we believe such strong performance will be ongoing.

Consumers are leading the recovery, their confidence being at an all-time high. Households are spending more and increasing debt levels. Personal income is up from last year, driven in part by tight labor markets. Low unemployment rates and an abundance of new job openings are applying upward pressure on wages.

Tax reform and regulation relief have encouraged stronger industrial production. Capital expenditures remain robust. The business sector should demonstrate durability comparable to the consumer segment, boosting economic security. However, issues of concern for stock and bond markets—weakening global indices, fears of ongoing trade wars, border security disputes and gridlock in Washington—may impede broad economic gains.

Home prices are rising more quickly than upticks in personal income, although the pace of price increases has slowed. Mortgage rates should gradually increase. The higher cost of housing, lower income gains, and long-term rate increases are reducing affordability for owners, with little near-term relief in sight. Moderate increases in sales are expected.

Positive underlying economic fundamentals supported the auto industry in 2018, but as manufacturers pay more for labor and materials, consumers will bear much of that burden. Demand for new vehicles is expected to cool somewhat this year, as buyers become more selective and price-conscious.

Indications suggest that inflation doesn’t pose a serious threat to the economy. Accordingly, following a series of minimal short-term rate hikes, the Federal Open Market Committee pushed the pause button, presumably for the first half of 2019.

Longer-term rates have seen small, sustained increases and are expected to go up slowly. The flattening yield curve, more moderate overall growth, a narrowing labor situation, and rising wage pressures give us mixed signals as to future financial strength.

Although challenges and market fluctuations will continue, we expect this year to generate solid economic results. As America First members, you can be assured that we will provide flexible, affordable, and convenient products & services that fit your changing needs.

Save Money with America First Credit Union

With technology flourishing, we are in an era where pretty much everything has gone digital, including your bank apps.

Nicole Cypers from America First is here today to tell you how you can save money by switching to their credit union. Right now, they have an offer through the end of February for a 3% balance transfer.

This allows you to transition all your debt to a Visa card and get up to 3% back, drawing your debt down. There are many other benefits, such as card customization, free Card Guard® mobile security, member perks and so much more!

For more information, visit: americafirst.com.

Source

baby

She’s Having a Baby! (And Saving)

Congratulations are certainly in order if your family is growing. But even with good medical coverage, the costs of labor & delivery are considerable. The price for a normal birth without complications is usually in the thousands. Of course, it’s always important to set aside funds when you’re planning for a new baby, but there are ways to save & pay less.

Before your due date

The best way to save money is to be informed. Contact your insurance company and find out which expenses are covered. Discuss things like length of stay, medications, meals, and other procedures. Don’t be hesitant to treat your agent as your personal consultant—after all, that’s their job.

Do comparison pricing on local hospitals, as what they charge often varies from one facility to another. Ask questions such as the average total amount, when you should expect the bill, and if your insurance plan is accepted. If you don’t have insurance, inquire about cash discounts and payment plans. Depending on your income, you may qualify for financial aid, but you won’t know unless you ask.

At the hospital

Obviously, the health and well-being of the mother and the baby are far more important than any payment. Therefore, trust the counsel of medical professionals. However, you don’t need to receive every service offered. For example, the epidural generally costs hundreds of dollars and some people choose to go without it. Also, if permitted, bring your own over-the-counter pain relievers for after the delivery. That way you won’t be charged $50 for an ibuprofen.

If your family lives near the hospital, they can go home for meals instead of eating at the cafeteria. And don’t stay longer than necessary. Once you’ve received the all-clear from the doctor, see how soon you can check out. It’s intimidating to bring a child home and begin a new chapter of your life, but doing so a little earlier can mean significant savings.

When you’re home

Formula can be expensive, so if it’s possible to nurse your baby, that may be a good option. Also, when the final invoice arrives, check it closely for errors, such as being double-charged. Hospitals will usually bill the mother and child separately, so keep that in mind during your review, because mistakes are more common than you might think. Even if you have insurance, looking for ways to save is certainly beneficial.

return

What’s Your Return Policy?

Now that the holiday season dust has settled and most, if not all, of your Christmas decorations are stored, it’s time to decide which gifts you’re keeping and which ones you want to return. Maybe a shirt is the wrong size, or the family laptop you bought is a lemon—whatever the reason, here are some tips for making sure you don’t get stuck with unwanted clutter.

Review return dates

Exchange timeframes largely depend on the vendors. For example, Kmart purchases can be returned within 30 days, whereas Target allows 90 days. It can also depend on what you buy. Costco doesn’t have a limit for most things, but you’re given three months for electronics & appliances. Check the official site for specific policies.

Retain receipts

Always keep your receipts until the refund window closes. When giving presents, always include gift receipts. Having proof of purchase makes the exchange process go smoothly and it gives you additional options. For instance, some stores will accept returns without receipts, but only provide in-store credit.

Ready at the right time

If you wait until January to return a Christmas gift, you’ll probably be within allowed period and you’ll avoid the crowds. Reduce the chance of waiting in line even further by going early in the morning or late in the evening. Of course, you’ll circumvent this scenario completely by using online returns and simply shipping the merchandise back.

Read the fine print

You may not get the full amount when requesting a refund. Vendors such as Best Buy can charge a re-stocking fee and Amazon might deduct the cost of shipping. If you order from a third-party seller, its return policy may be entirely different. Some stores take returns on a case-by-case basis, so it doesn’t hurt to be kind when you ask.

Resolve it yourself

Finally, if you’re unable to return the item, or you don’t know where the gift was purchased, you can try selling it on eBay, listing it with your local classifieds or posting it on your social media pages. Alternatively, if you’re feeling philanthropic, you can give it to someone in need or donate it to charity—then you’ll benefit from good feelings, as well as a sense of accomplishment as you check off another item from your to-do list.

America First Credit Union Offers Furlough Assistance Loan to Members Affected by Government Agency Shutdowns

For Immediate Release:

America First Credit Union Offers Furlough Assistance Loan to Members Affected by Government Agency Shutdowns

RIVERDALE, Utah – January 3, 2019 – America First Credit Union is helping to ease the burden of its members affected by the shutdown of government agencies across the nation by providing a special Furlough Assistance Loan. The personal loan of up to $4,000 will be made available to federal employees who have been furloughed due to the recent government shutdown. Additionally, America First, which has more than 988,000 members, is also offering members no-cost counseling services, loan extensions and numerous free and low-cost benefits.

“The recent government shutdown has started a domino effect throughout our communities and we are thankful to be in a position to provide financial assistance and guidance to our members,” said John B. Lund, president and CEO of America First Credit Union. “In these difficult times, we stand resolute with those affected and promise to remain a trusted financial institution for those who have devoted their lives to serving our country.”

To be eligible for the Furlough Assistance Loan, individuals must be America First Credit Union members and have missed a paycheck due to the shutdown. The Furlough Assistance Loan will be available one-time only and offers terms up to seven months, with one-month interest free. The loan has a zero percent interest rate for the first 30 days and then a 4.99 percent interest rate that begins to accrue on day 31. Applicants must provide proof of federal government employment including a recent paystub not older than 30 days, military or government ID or a verified direct deposit from a federal employer to America First.

For those interested in becoming members of America First to take advantage of this program, please fill out the membership application at www.americafirst.com or call 1-800-999-3961.

America First members can also take advantage of free financial counseling, free financial education and safe savings programs. Members are encouraged to contact America First about the options available to them by calling 1-800-999-3961 by visiting America First’s Financial Counseling resource page online or by stopping into their local branch.

For more information, visit www.americafirst.com. Find America First Credit Union on Facebook and Twitter or follow @AmericaFirst on Instagram and Pinterest.

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About America First Credit Union

With a long-standing history and more than 79 years servicing members, America First has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 129 locations, and is the 10th largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $10.2 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 988,000 members.

 

Media Contact:
America First Credit Union
Nicole Cypers
C: 801-726-9480
ncypers@americafirst.com

 

Quillin Public Relations
Julian Lupo
702.818.1637
julianl@quillinlv.com

Renewal Brings Opportunity for Beneficial Change

By John B. Lund, President and CEO

It’s hard for me to believe another year has come and gone, yet I always appreciate this annual opportunity to pause and reflect on treasured memories & accomplishments.

Additionally, it’s a time to re-focus our efforts toward achieving the goals being set for the months ahead. Reader’s Digest traditionally compiles its 15 most popular New Year’s resolutions. Here is the 2019 list:

  1. Get into shape
  2. Lose weight
  3. Enjoy life to the fullest
  4. Spend less, save more
  5. Dedicate additional time to family, friends
  6. Become better organized
  7. Learn something new
  8. Travel
  9. Break a smartphone addiction
  10. Cook meals at home rather than dining out
  11. Cut down on drinking
  12. Stop smoking
  13. Reduce stress
  14. Make sleep a priority
  15. Floss regularly

Whether or not the above aspirations factor into your plans, some of them coincide with mine. In fact, I’m pleased to know that three or four have already been conquered!

America First Credit Union can be key to meeting several of these objectives. We provide sound advice and counseling, will help you discover new ways to conveniently and efficiently manage your money, and we’ll assist you in prioritizing saving, while reducing spending.

Visit a local branch to review your finances. We’ll explore the possibility of lowering the interest rates on loans & credit cards. We offer programs that generate additional cash back for the purchases you’re already making. Our premier electronic services deliver enhanced security and real-time transaction control. America First Visa® credit cards also feature free identity theft recovery services that include protection and monitoring.

These are just a few examples of how we strive to simplify and improve the financial aspect of your life, lessening that source of stress. When your financial affairs are in order and you’re maximizing the available benefits, you’ll likely have more time and energy for family, friends, hobbies, exercise and other pursuits.

Our goal at America First is to become and remain your primary financial partner. We are dedicated to being relevant to all stages of life and ensuring your interactions with the credit union are positive and productive. We thank you for your trust and look forward to a lasting relationship.